6 years ago.: Hi all, it was 6 years... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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6 years ago.

Anna_10 profile image

Hi all, it was 6 years ago to the day that ppp entered my life. Every year around Christmas, I get reminded of my illness. But this year, is exactly to the day that it all happened. I'm so much better now and was only in hospital for a month. Then went on to fully recover, hold down a family and a job. This summer I had a little set back, mainly down to hormones. I feel so good again at the min, but just can't help thinking back to what happened Xmas 2013, every year. I try to tell myself that I have done so well and look how far I've come, but this time of year, it all comes back to haunt me! How do others get through it. Thank you for listening and am always here if anyone else needs me. Merry Christmas to you all. Lots of love Anna xx

26 Replies
Jenny_at_APP profile image

Hi Anna,

Thank you for posting.

It must be really hard having the association of Christmas and all the lead up to it mixed in with the memories of PP. I’m guessing there’s a lot around that acts as a trigger for your experience which is hard to escape.

My PP was in the summer 2012, I too spent a month in an MBU and recovered well. I’ve found it has become easier with time, but I still have the occasional trigger. I used a bathroom at a GP practice this week that must have used the same cleaning products as the MBU as that smell took me right back. There were also posters on the back of the door about reporting domestic abuse, which caused me so much confusion when ill in the MBU as I believed everything was a ‘sign’ and a clue and posters like that in the loo were telling me I had to accuse my husband of abuse... It was so out of the blue and shook me a little. I guess Christmas does this to you every year kind of constantly?

I think it’s really important you recognise how far you’ve come, as you’ve said. As there’s no real way to escape the triggers, I wonder if there’s a way to kind of take control? Accept all those memories are going to come flooding back and set aside some time to acknowledge and reflect on them, then maybe your brain will allow you to move past them for another Christmas? Maybe some time to yourself to think, or write some memories down, or time where you agree to talk about it with your family or a friend? Then a conscious decision that you then kind of close it off? Does that make sense? It’s just an idea, I’ve no idea how realistic it is!

I hope you’re able to have a lovely Christmas. Try to focus on those positives and how amazing you are!

Best wishes,

Jenny x

Anna_10 profile image
Anna_10 in reply to Jenny_at_APP

Thank you so much. Yes it all makes sense. Merry Christmas to you too xx

Pikorua profile image
PikoruaVolunteer in reply to Jenny_at_APP

Hi Jenny,

merry Christmas first of all. Hope you are having a lovely time.

I just want to respond to and resonate with your flashbacks ...

sensory processing is something I just can not keep in check always. Sometimes olfaction , the chemoreception forms a sense of smell, which is not reflecting the hear and now,- my data is somehow misleading. Exactly your scenario I experience as well, especially when on NHS premises. It is the cleaning chemicals...I also struggle with auditory issues and when on the edge, thus, poorly I have to use ear defenders or use other coping mechanisms for distraction, such as focusing on an activity.

I wonder whether other mums have similar issues, especially when struggling with Bipolar after PPP?

Jenny_at_APP profile image
Jenny_at_APPAdministrator in reply to Pikorua

Hi Pikorua,

Thank you for your message. I had a lovely Christmas thank you, I hope you did too.

It’s very strange when certain smells and sounds evoke memories, I’ve no idea if there’s any way to guard against it - probably not as it’s so unexpected so no time to put up a defence... distraction as you describe is probably the best way to deal with it but it’s not nice is it. Smell in particular is so evocative isn’t it, takes you right back... If anyone has any tips to share I hope they will :)

Wishing you joy and peace for the New Year.

Love, Jenny x

Revans86 profile image

Morning Anna,

So sorry you had PP too and also that it was around Christmas time like me. I had PP in Dec 2016.

Such a huge well done on your recovery. Hold close how amazingly strong you’ve been to get where you are today.

Anniversary reminders are hard aren’t they, but especially so when it’s Christmas as it’s all so different than normal isn’t it. Also everyone is so happy, which on the one hand is lovely, but I find it can be tough to be around if I’m feeling a bit vulnerable!

I try to do as you do yourself, remind myself how far I’ve come, and be kind to myself.

I’m lucky to be able to take annual leave over Christmas which is good as I don’t have to think about work for a little bit.

I’ve found I don’t particularly like being at home over the season, which is a bit sad really I guess, so we try to book a last minute cheap night away in the Uk for our little family which is a welcome distraction. And helps to create happier memories to draw on.

On Friday I went to town to finish off some Christmas shopping, and while I was there I went to a cafe to have a minute to myself amidst the Christmas chaos! It was excellent people watching in the window! As it was so busy I invited a lady to join me at my table. She seemed so surprised that I was making space for her. It’s funny you know, but sometimes spreading kindness to others can support me through a tough time. We had a proper natter about nothing in particular, Christmas things mainly. And it helped in that moment, as I was reminded that in spite of what we’ve been through, in that moment I was no different to any other mum busy trying to get everything ready. And smiling to myself that in the Christmas shopping list I’d forgotten to include my little boy’s birthday card. Sorted now!

I don’t think my PP experience will ever leave, it’s a huge trauma to go through But know that none of us are ever on our own in this. For we’re lucky enough to have found this amazing place from Action on Postpartum Psychosis.

Have a restful Christmas lovely, take care of yourself, find yourself a duvet day if you need one, and squeeze your loved ones tight. You’re a star, Happy Christmas Anna 🎄xx

Anna_10 profile image
Anna_10 in reply to Revans86

Thank you so much xxx

Happy Christmas too you too xx

Pikorua profile image

What a lovely post Anna_10...it is exactly those stories like yours, which brings a sparkle to those mums, who are still struggling at the moment. Hope and knowing that we will recover from PPP...

Look after yourself and a merry Christmas to you and your family x

I'm just so glad I found this forum to share experiences and try to help others. There is light at the end of a very dark tunnel xx

Lilybeth profile image

Hello Anna_10

Good to hear from you. That was such an achievement to recover in only a year from such an awful illness. I so admire mums like you who have met the challenge with so much courage and can talk so openly to help others.

My PP episodes were many years ago .....my first son was born in late November and at Christmas in that year I have a memory of being in hospital recovering from an incident. I was then transferred to various psychiatric units for treatment and I finally went home after six months. Like you, this time of year does trigger my memory. Now, years later, I'm quite proud and grateful that I overcame such a traumatic time in my life and went on to be surrounded by the love of my husband at the time, with my sons and also held down a job until recently.

My second son was a summer baby, six years later, and although I faced PP a second time followed by another harrowing depression, it doesn't trigger such a strong memory, perhaps as it's not associated with a specific time of year? ..... although I remember.

I have found that the forum and support here has been instrumental in helping me understand what happens when we are struck by PP and I'm so grateful that the NHS was there for me. During my time in hospital I met other women (and men) who were not as fortunate and whom I left behind when I was discharged.

Perhaps it might help to think forward to the summer and all the good memories to be made with your family rather than looking back, although at this time of year it is hard for you? Take care and try to celebrate how far you have come .... PP mums are amazing :)

Thank you fir your kind words. I hope you have a great Christmas xx

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer in reply to Anna_10

Thank you Anna .....

Like Pikorau, I also light a candle in remembrance and pray that any mums struggling will eventually find peace. I hope you also have a great Christmas and thank you for your good wishes. xx

I had the same but it was Christmas 2004! My third child. I didn’t know about the tsunami and couldn’t believe what had happened. My kids now laugh about it now, they had to stay with my sister and all her kids and it was chaotic.

Anna_10 profile image
Anna_10 in reply to Ochre

Thank you, Merry Christmas and hope 2020 brings you peace & love xxx

Pikorua profile image

Good morning Anna,

like Lilybeth I believe it is good to be in the presence as you can not change the past. PPP has been a trauma for all women on this forum and very mind blowing.

I find Ochre's comment very interesting, it is like as if the time stood still and we were in our psychotic bubble and have had no clue about any events happening politically or culturally or around us, close to home. In my case treatment was so bad that my memory was shut out for the second half of 2010...and in 2011 it is pretty much a puzzle game, but it is fine with me.

August is more of significance to me, because it was not only the time of my suffering, but when loved ones struggled and either left or were going to leave mother earth. Life cycle can be harsh, but simultaneously it teaches us to gain more courage and convert the experiences in to love and kindness...this is at least my coping strategy.

For Christmas I will put a candle on for those mums, who have not survived and/or could not cope with ongoing burdens.


Ochre profile image
Ochre in reply to Pikorua

That’s exactly how it felt, trapped in my own world, did not understand, believe or trust anything around me. I had to go through everything that had happened in the news, my own family and other kids after I came out if it on anti psychotics. Christmas came and went and New Year...

Hannah_at_APP profile image
Hannah_at_APPAdministrator in reply to Ochre

Hi Ochre, sorry to hear you also have mixed memories of this time of year. Wishing you all the best, take care, xx

Pikorua profile image
PikoruaVolunteer in reply to Ochre

Look after yourself, Ochre!

Health and happiness for 2020. x

Thank you, lighting a candle is a lovely idea xx Merry Christmas to you all xx

Hi Anna,

When I was poorly many years ago, after a got well each year around the time I had become unwell I used to start relieving the trauma, which wasn't nice at all a gradually punshed it all out of my mind and it becomes easier

If you are finding things difficult at this time of the year or you feel there may be things that you maybe just pushing away, I wonder if you have a good relationship with your gp, to have a chat.

I say this because I buried everything for many years, just felt it was easier to bury everything behind a door, really it didnt help and back then had little support, things have changed so much since then. It all fell apart when I started I needed outpatient hospital treatment in 2013 and things started to unravel, doors that should have stayed shut had become rotted and fell apart, my gp has been a rock and helped me find the right treatments to help me come to some understanding to why things happen.

I feel for you and all mums who do suffer it is a horrible illness.

You will get through this and remember the last 6yrs you have got through all of them, you have come so far and it will get better, just talking about it here in a safe place can help a great deal

Happy Christmas and hope 2020 is a good one for you xx

Anna_10 profile image
Anna_10 in reply to guinea1

Thank you for your reply. Time is definitely a healer and talking about it helps massively. I see my gp regularly and do sometimes keep things shut away, as it's easier not to bother others, especially those who don't understand! Hope your are well and always here for a listen xx xx

Thank you Anna

I think having a gp to talk to is very important, as there I things you find difficult to say to people close....for yes I felt anger, as family had let me go to the psychiatric hospital where things were made much worse , it took a month to get me out out of there... leaving things locked up for so long and forgetting has turned into PTSD.. but I do have this fabulous gp.. I have come a long way with his support and to be truthful make more progress with him the the other therapy as he understands me and gives me sympathy when I need it.. sometimes thing are hard..gives me encouragement says I need to look how far I have come and small steps..not looking where I want to be, just to relish in the small things... and that is what I am trying to focus on for the new year... but it is hard work, though I am pretty strong, like everyone here we get though it in the end.. the road may feel bumpy... we carry on .. I have no idea where my journey is going or where it will end.. but I am not giving up!

Anna_10 profile image
Anna_10 in reply to guinea1

That's a good positive attitude! Best wishes for the new year xx

guinea1 profile image
guinea1 in reply to Anna_10

I wish everyone who is suffering to beable to have a better new year, there is hope and things do get easier, it does help to talk and try to to do it sooner than late.. we just need time to heal and understanding gp to help up on our journey to recovery xx

I too had pp this time in 2016. I find the anniversary hard, especially with the stress of christmas too. but time is a great healer too for me. X

Hi Anna, it was 27 years ago it happened to me, I never forget but time begins to heal and the memories play out like a video more know, with me being less present in the room with them. I became unwell in late November, with my first onset of a psychotic episode beginning in early December followed by a lucid interval and second episode lasting 6 hours. I was treated both with hormone treatment (Cyclogest - natural progesterone) and an antidepressant and the psychosis did not return replaced with severe postnatal depression. My final decent began on Boxing Day and I was admitted to a MBU (on an acute psychiatric ward) on New Year's Eve. The psychosis returned on New Years Day, a few days before my first period so as you can imagine New Year has never been a great time.

I have talked about it a lot, found ways of acknowledging those two days rather than blocking it out, spent time with my family on those days. However, in the last 10 years, it has become less of an event, so time has been a healer. The experience has definitely shaped who I am now, informs my practice as a mental health professional and lecturer, so it's always with me and has made more a compassionate person. It may be helpful to reflect on the positives, your strength as a person, what you have learned about yourself through the experience, life is one journey of lessons, be it that none of us wanted this particular one.

I wish you well, it gets easier with time x

Thank you, Time is most definitely a healer. I hope 2020 brings you happiness. Xx

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